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Thursday, July 16, 2015

What Must Auburn Do: Arkansas

2015 AUBURN Football Schedule

DateGameLocationTime

09/05/15vs. Louisville TVAtlanta2:30 p.m. CT
09/12/15vs. Jacksonville State TVAuburn11:00 a.m. CT
09/19/15at LSU TVBaton Rouge2:30 p.m. CT
09/26/15vs. Mississippi State TVAuburnTBA
10/03/15vs. San Jose State (HC) TVAuburnTBA
10/15/15at Kentucky TVLexington6:00 p.m. CT
10/24/15at Arkansas TVFayettevilleTBA
10/31/15vs. Ole Miss TVAuburnTBA
11/07/15at Texas A&M TVCollege StationTBA
11/14/15vs. Georgia TVAuburnTBA
11/21/15vs. Idaho TVAuburnTBA
11/28/15vs. Alabama TVAuburnTBA

This for me will be the most interesting game of the season to this point. Certainly, as interesting as the LSU game, in terms of importance, and storyline. A win here should give this team all the confidence needed to make the rest of the schedule seem less daunting. 

The story lines will range from Hurry-Up-No-Huddle vs. the tortoise, to social media spyglass usage to judge a recruits character. The game however will come down to who can execute, and who wants it most. 

Arkansas was much better defensively last season, especially later into their season. Auburn did not see the same execution defensively that the Hogs were able to muster against other SEC foes. The Tigers handled Arkansas 45-21 in the first game of the season for both schools in 2014. For the season however, the Hogs only allowed 19.2 points per game. 

Arkansas was able to improve dramatically mainly due to holding opposing teams to less than 40% on 3rd down, and under 23% on 4th down tries. 

Auburn can overcome these strengths by accomplishing a couple things. 

First, eliminating long distance 3rd down yardages. Auburn must consistently convert 3rd downs into new sets of downs. This will keep drives alive, and tire the Hogs defensively.

Second, Auburn must have some big plays offensively, breaking the will of the Arkansas faithful, thus keeping the fans from spurring on their hometown heroes. 

Lastly, Auburn must win on Special Team play. Last season Arkansas held their opponents to under 50% on FG tries. Auburn has a dependable kicker, although on the road, kicking takes on a whole new set of challenges. 

Gone are the Tigers two return men. Quan Bray finished 2nd in the country in Punt Return last year. Who will fill those shoes? Corey Grant handled most of the Kick Off duties, that speed, and the dependable hands that "Tail Lights" possesses will be missed. These are two crucial areas when you go on the road and play. Auburn must be very solid in Special Teams play.

The Hogs will be much improved. I have every confidence that Auburn will be better. It will be closer than many of us like, but Muschamp's defense will win the day with 5 sacks, mostly when Arkansas has to pass more to catch up to the Tigers scoring.

Call it Auburn 38 Arkansas 31

WAR EAGLE!


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